In my post Tips to Save on College Costs I offered some ideas on how to save on college textbooks. One reader submitted a comment with another good idea for doing the same. Her thoughts:
I graduated from college one year ago, and spent next to nothing on books -- certainly zero dollars in my junior and senior years, after finishing language classes (horrible, expensive workbooks!). I was amazed at how many students complained about the cost of books and overlooked the library! At both of the schools I attended during this time (small liberal arts college in New England, and a huge university overseas), all required texts for the class were put on reserve or short-loan. You could take them out (often in-library only) for a few hours at a time. The benefits of this approach are manyfold:
- expenses drop several hundred dollars per semester
- your studying becomes concentrated; you work hard while the library's open and know you're finished when you get home, rather than letting your study time bleed all over your personal time.
- studying in the library encourages collaboration. it's much more communal that holing up in your dorm or apartment.
- all the resources being that accessible makes your studying more thorough and more efficient. instead of thinking "I wonder about..." or "I'll look that up later," you look it up NOW.
I stopped buying books to save money, but continued because I saw my performance and dedication go way up. I'm convinced that studying in the library greatly improved my college experience.
So, you save money on books by not buying them? Good idea! As I noted in the previous post, I rarely used the books in college -- unless it was a math or accounting class. Most others were simply a waste of money.